The name on junior running back Justin Dragosz's jersey, one of four specially designed uniforms to support Military Appreciation Night, said, "Commitment." A very fitting word considering that Barrington's coach Joe Sanchez and the Broncos were committed to the run and Dragosz, a first time varsity player, in their 17-10 victory over MSL conference crossover rival Elk Grove.
“We are built to run the ball,” Sanchez said of his nearly 200 yards of rushing offense against the Grenadiers. “I had faith in our run game.”
And it was this belief in the run game that convinced Sanchez to try a fourth down and inches with just 45 seconds left in the game.
“It was six inches and I knew we could get it,” Sanchez said of why he didn’t hesitate on the fourth down run call. “I had faith in our offensive line and quarterback that they were going to get the job done.”
Tied at 10, quarterback Mark Bennett’s 31 yard pass to Dylan Zyzda (72 yards receiving) put Barrington into field goal range, but it was Bennett’s legs that would keep the drive moving when it became fourth down. Bennett managed to sneak the ball just over the first down marker thanks to a large push from the offensive line, a line that was missing senior standout Dan Voltz (out with cramping). Bennett would finish 5 of 10 for 78 yards with an interception.
Moments after the successful fourth down conversion, it was Dragosz who scored his second touchdown of the game (:12 seconds remaining). Settling in behind another big push from the offensive line, Dragosz’s two yard touchdown gave Barrington a 16-10 lead. Sophomore kicker Daniel Kubiuk remained perfect on the year with his leg to give the Broncos a 17-10 lead.
“Justin Dragosz did a fantastic job tonight,” Sanchez said of the junior runner that scored two touchdowns while racking up 161 yards on 26 carries. “Dragosz stepped it up.”
“We were confident in him,” Sanchez went on to say of Chase Murdock’s replacement. “He had a great junior varsity game last Saturday and then had a great week of practice.”
The good week continued for Dragosz who really turned it up in the second half rushing for 97 yards and scoring both his touchdowns, with each score giving the Broncos the lead at the time.
After Barrington (1-1) and the Grenadiers (1-1) exchanged first half field goals, it was Dragosz and the offensive line that scored the game’s first touchdown (7:01 in third quarter) and gave Barrington an early 10-3 lead.
“It was going to be hard without Chase Murdock,” Dragosz said of the team’s run attack on the game even after the injury that forced Murdock out of the game. “Our line just pulled together and everyone did their jobs.”
However, Barrington wasn’t the only team committed to the run as the Grenadier’s multitalented quarterback Dejan Basara was able to rush for 117 yards (22 carries). One of Basara’s biggest runs was an eight yard scramble off the option which produced the touchdown that tied the game at 10-10 with just 3:19 left in the fourth quarter. Basara was also 8 of 17 passing (98 yards) but two interceptions.
Barrington’s Sam Handler had the first interception while senior Mitchell Hank secured his on a tip drill late in the second half. But the two interceptions doesn’t fully capture Basara’s athleticism with the arm, rather it shows the pressure that Barrington’s defense was causing on the Grenadier senior. Even with the pressure, Basara displayed all his tools throughout the day, including a scary bomb of a pass to connect with Fernando Lozano deep into Barrington’s secondary on the last play of the game.
The play, which left everyone in the stadium breathless, saw Lozano catch Basara’s long pass near the twenty yard line and then shake a tackle as he closed in on the end zone. Thankfully the Bronco secondary tackled Lozano near their eight yard line just as time expired, securing Barrington’s 17-10 win.
“He is a heck of a ball player,” Sanchez said of Basara, who also is the kicker for Elk Grove. “We had him at times pinned in and he still managed to find a way to get through.”
Barrington continues its stretch of games through the MSL East and play at Hersey (2-0) next Friday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m.